In 1978, the USS Stein encountered a giant squid in the Pacific Ocean, an event marked by the discovery of large, curved claws embedded in the ship’s damaged sonar dome, suggesting an aggressive interaction.

This incident provided rare evidence of the existence and potential size of deep-sea squids, challenging previous scientific assumptions about these elusive creatures.


The Unusual Attack on the USS Stein

The encounter between the USS Stein and what is believed to have been a giant squid unfolded in 1978, marking a significant moment that bridged naval operations with the mysteries of marine biology.

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The USS Stein, designated DE-1065 at the time, was engaged in routine operations in the expansive, deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. It was during these operations that the crew first detected anomalies with the ship’s sonar system.

USS Stein pictured in 1987.

Sonar, an acronym for Sound Navigation and Ranging, is a fundamental technology used by naval vessels to navigate the vast and often treacherous waters of the world’s oceans, as well as to detect other vessels and objects in the vicinity, both above and beneath the water’s surface. The system relies on the emission and reception of sound waves, which bounce off objects, allowing the crew to identify and navigate around potential hazards.

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As the Stein continued its patrol, the sonar system’s performance progressively worsened, a development that puzzled the ship’s crew and technical officers. Given the critical role of sonar in submarine warfare and the general operation of naval vessels, any malfunction represents a significant operational concern. The decision was made to return to port for a thorough examination and repair of the system, a move that would unveil the extraordinary cause behind the malfunction.

The Initial Investigation

Upon arrival at the port, the USS Stein was taken into dry dock, where naval engineers and technicians could more closely inspect the ship’s hull and, more specifically, the sonar dome.

This component of the ship, typically located on the bow’s underside, houses the sonar transducers and is designed to be acoustically transparent, allowing for the efficient transmission and reception of sound waves.

What they discovered upon inspection was far from routine maintenance issues or the expected wear and tear from oceanic navigation.

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The sonar dome bore the unmistakable signs of a violent encounter, covered in long, deep scratches and gouges that seemed to have been inflicted by a powerful and determined assailant. The damage was extensive and unusual, suggesting that the Stein had come into contact with a creature of considerable size and strength.

The nature of the marks indicated that this was no mere collision with underwater debris or rock formations; something alive had aggressively interacted with the USS Stein.

A Deeper Look at the Damage on the USS Stein

The damage to the USS Stein’s SONAR dome was not typical wear and tear or the result of a collision with an inanimate object. Instead, the dome was covered in long, deep scratches and gouges, as if it had been aggressively attacked by a creature with considerable strength.

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Embedded within these marks were remnants of sharp, curved claws, unlike anything seen before. These were later identified as belonging to the suction cups of a squid’s tentacles, but significantly larger than any known to exist.

Marine biologists were brought in to meticulously examine these embedded claws, which were identified as coming from the suction cups of a squid’s tentacles. This in itself was not unusual, as squids are known to possess such structures.

Tales of the Giant Squid have been common in folk lore among mariners throughout history.

However, the size and morphology of these claws were extraordinary, significantly larger than those found on any previously identified squid species, including the giant squid, Architeuthis dux, which had been the largest known squid species up to that point.

The Unknown Sea Monster

The claws suggested an encounter with a giant squid of considerable size, potentially even larger than those documented in scientific literature. Giant squids are elusive creatures, residing in the depths of the ocean, and most of what is known about them comes from carcasses that have washed ashore or been accidentally caught in fishing nets.

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Live sightings are exceedingly rare, making direct observations and studies of their behavior, size, and physiology difficult for scientists.

To analyze these unusual findings, researchers conducted detailed measurements and comparisons with known specimens of giant squids. The analysis involved examining the curvature and sharpness of the claws, estimating the size of the squid by correlating the size of the suction cups to the overall dimensions of known squids, and consulting existing marine biology literature for any records of similar encounters or specimens.

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This analysis had profound implications for our understanding of marine life. It suggested the existence of giant squids larger than any that had been scientifically documented, challenging previous assumptions about the maximum size these creatures could attain.

Moreover, it provided concrete evidence that these leviathans of the deep were not just passive dwellers of the ocean’s abyss but could interact with objects in their environment.

Perhaps, they even exhibited aggressive or defensive behaviors when encountering unfamiliar objects – like the USS Stein